Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I was poking around on my RECIPES page the other day and saw that the MUFFINS section is seriously anemic.

Must make more muffins this year. MUST.

So, here we have Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. They're one of my favorites. If you don't already have a recipe in your repertoire, you should consider this one!

These muffins are light and fluffy on the inside and have a nice little crunch on the outside. The amount of natural lemon flavoring is perfection and those poppy seeds add such a nice bite.

I have a stash of these in my freezer just waiting to be warmed up & eaten on a cool fall morning. I'm thinking a pumpkin muffin comes next! What do you say?

And we're off! Ingredient gathering time.

Zest the lemon. Add it into the sugar.

Stir it up and you have lemon sugar.

Mix the yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, milk & vanilla in a bowl.

In another bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter in with two knives.

Add in the poppy seeds.

Make a well and add in the wet ingredients.

Stir until combined.

Fill up a muffin tin.

Bake! COOL.


Muffins are the shiz.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

makes 12 muffins

recipe adapted from The Cheese Board Collective Cookbook

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 375F. Generously utter or spray the tops and cups of a 12 cup muffin pan.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, eggs, sour cream (or yogurt) milk, and vanilla. Whisk until blended.

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add the salt and lemon sugar to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or 2 dinner knives until it is the size of small peas. Mix in the poppy seeds. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients. With a few strokes of the spoon, gently combine, taking care not to overmix the batter.

With an ice cream coop or a large soup spoon, fill the prepared muffin cups until the batter just peeks over the top of the pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 24-30 minutes or until the muffins are light golden brown, firm and springy. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Unmold muffins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

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  • October 8, 2012

    Your muffin section is no longer anemic :) These make a wonderful looking addition!

    • Tracy
      October 8, 2012

      Haha! I'm gonna keep adding to that!

  • October 8, 2012

    I say yes to pumpkin muffins, and double-yes to these! And while you're working on muffins, if we're having these for breakfast, can we also make some savory muffins for dinner, please? I am big into breads and muffins at this time of year as my soup fetish kicks into gear again.

  • Sini
    October 8, 2012

    I loooove poppy seeds! And yes, I'm for pumpkin muffins next time. It's fall after all, right? There should be lots of pumpkin in our kitchens these days.

  • October 8, 2012

    I made this pumpkin bread recipe (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pumpkin_bread/) recently and it was awesome, I bet it would be great as muffins!
    (I didn't have walnuts, so I stuck some raisins in, they were great).
    I LOVE poppyseed and lemon, it is my mom's favourite and always makes me think of her.

  • October 8, 2012

    Wow - these look incredible! Lemon poppy seed muffins are probably my second favorite type, banana crumb will always have my heart :)

  • October 8, 2012

    I love that these are made with real lemon and not with lemon flavoring -- I never have that stuff around when recipes call for it!

  • October 8, 2012

    I do not even know the last time I had a lemon poppyseed muffin, but I've always loved them! Making this. Absolutely.

  • October 8, 2012

    These+JtB's pancakes= so much lemon poppy seed up in hereee, love it!

  • October 8, 2012

    Hello! I came across your site just a few weeks ago, and now I am hooked! I love your Friday lists (read...I've been working my way back through all the lists!) and these recipes look so wonderful. I adore the 'ingredient gathering pictures,' so great. I'm new here, but I vote pumpkin next. =)

  • October 8, 2012

    I love lemon poppy seed muffins, but I've never tried to bake them before. Definitely have to try this recipe!

  • October 8, 2012

    Muffins, FTW! I made pumpkin ones yesterday and these are TOTES on the list next!

  • October 8, 2012

    "muffins are the shiz"... hahaha, totally.

  • October 8, 2012

    Hellz yes! Mmm. Muffins! Yummy.


  • Sarah
    October 8, 2012

    These look amazing! I have always loved lemon poppyseed muffins.

  • October 8, 2012

    Well, these look delightful. Thanks for sharing!!

  • sashaanne
    October 8, 2012

    These look yummy! I love lemony things.

  • October 8, 2012

    Mmm lemon! freshly baked muffins are such comfort food. ahhh.. I miss baking :'(

  • Sera
    October 8, 2012

    I also just made lemon poppy seed muffins this weekend! (from joy's site!) but I have the worst grater in the world and so just peeled and chopped the peely bits from the lemon, resulting (i think??) in a bitter aftertaste. Not so good. I see that you also have (what looks like) and insane amount of BP.. I thought that might have been the bitter problem, but maybe not? Do they need that amount of puff to counter the sour cream?
    Sorry, ramble questions...answers appreciated!


    • Tracy
      October 8, 2012

      You might have included the pith when you peeled your lemons. That can make lemon REALLY REALLY bitter. Also you need to make sure that you clean the lemon thoroughly (rinse/wash) before you use the zest. It's possible there could have been a pesticide residue or a wax on top.

  • October 8, 2012

    Lemon poppy seed totally makes me weak in the knees!

  • Hannah
    October 8, 2012

    Monday morning muffins! My favorite...cause Monday's are hard :)

  • October 8, 2012

    I love the big domed tops on these! They look so delicious!

  • October 8, 2012

    Lemon poppy seed are my favorite kind of muffins! I never seem to be able to find poppy seeds though...perhaps I'm not looking hard enough...or perhaps I'm afraid of what kind of lemon poppy seed damage I'd do if I actually had them on hand ;)

  • October 8, 2012

    Perfect for breakfast on the run! I'll take these muffins over a muffin top anyday :)

  • October 8, 2012


  • I like when muffins are fluffy inside :)

  • I'm usually an almond poppyseed muffin kinda girl but these look really good AND I just got that awesome Cheese Board cookbook for my birthday. I take this as a sign that I need to make these muffins stat!

  • They look amazing!

  • Hilary
    October 8, 2012

    Your dishtowels are the shiz too!

  • October 8, 2012

    Lemon and poppyseed is so classic--I love it. Yay!

  • October 8, 2012

    Pumpkin muffins sound delicious...maybe spiced with cardamom and with bits of pear baked in. You've turned on my imagination.

  • October 8, 2012

    dude! these are so good, i made them this afternoon! I swapped in whole wheat flour and coconut oil for the butter. they were delish and for the first time ever my muffins rose! (i'd been churning out the saddest little muffins ever) thanks so much for the recipe and the ego boost! jenna

  • jenny
    October 8, 2012

    lemon-poppyseed! such a sunshine-y muffin for the grey weather we've been having here in boston. AND they don't look sickeningly sweet. hate those lemon muffins that are drenched in glaze and make one's teeth ache from sugariness. I can't wait to make these. I bake your banana-zucchini muffins about once a month, so you have a good muffin record so far. :)

  • October 8, 2012

    Yeah poppy seeds! Love the classic combo of lemon + poppy seeds...would love one of these muffins for breakfast...or an evening snack ;)

  • These look wonderful! I love that they have yogurt in them. Also, yes. Please do make pumpkin muffins soon!

  • Jayne
    October 8, 2012

    I have no doubt this will be my absolute favourite. I love lemon everything!

  • October 8, 2012

    Yummmm! These look so scrumptious! I've yet to make a lemon poppyseed muffin, but am such a lover of all things lemon -- these are getting made ASAP. And yes -- bring on the pumpkin muffins, sister!

  • October 9, 2012

    Lemon sugar! Swoon! Such a great addition to the muffin section!

  • October 9, 2012

    These look amaaaaahzing!! Lemon poppy seeds are my obsession.

  • October 10, 2012

    I soooo want to make these!


  • October 10, 2012

    I just discovered your blog and am THRILLED I did! Your photos are stunning and I just cannot wait to dive into more!

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      Thank you so much Kelly! I am glad you found me!

  • October 10, 2012

    Ahhh!! This is perfect! I've been wanting to make these for so long. Almost resorted to a box method (yuck), but now I have this! Thanks so much, Tracy!

  • Kim
    October 10, 2012

    Oh Yum! Boom boom pow! PERFECTION.

  • Jess
    October 12, 2012

    Long time lurker, first time commenter -- quick question about freezing the muffins. Do you do this after they've baked and cooled? Any special directions for freezing them? I've only ever freezed dough for baked goods, not the finished products. Can't wait to try this recipe, though!

    • Tracy
      October 12, 2012

      Yup! They must be baked & cooled. I put them in a freezer bag, making sure to get rid of as much air in the bag as possible. You can set them out on the counter to defrost overnight or put one in your oven to heat up! Good luck. It's really nice to have treats in the freezer. You'll see.

  • October 13, 2012

    Yay! I'm not the only one who uses Kerrygold Unsalted Irish Butter to bake with from Trader Joes - so much better for baking than American butter!

    • Tracy
      October 13, 2012

      High five!!!

  • Cat
    October 14, 2012

    So, I made these muffins and they were AWESOME! But I made the mistake of leaving them on the counter or 10 mins and our dog DEVOURED them! All of them! I then made a second batch and forgot to add the butter! D'oh! But they were so good they're worth a 2nd and 3rd take haha. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Caroline
    October 21, 2012

    These are great - but they definitely make 18 large muffins. Also, make sure to add the vanilla as it's listed in the ingredients but not in the directions.

  • Janine
    December 11, 2012

    These are the best lemon poppyseed muffins I have ever had! :) thanks for the recipe.. I did not have baking soda so I added a bit more baking powder, they still taste perfect!

  • liza
    December 16, 2012

    just wondering can u still use a cupcake liner cause i hate the mess or when the muffins stick. I just made ur muffins and noticed alot of butter at the bottom of the muffn tins? is that normal?

    • Tracy
      December 16, 2012

      Yes that's normal. Yes you can use cupcake liners!

  • Sian
    January 5, 2013

    I made these today - DELICIOUS. Thanks for recipe!

  • Lisa Nash
    January 6, 2013

    Got ready to make Jam-filled muffins tonight( from the Muffin Mania cookbook) when my daughter told me she doesn't like jam-filled anything, she prefers lemon poppyseed muffins!So,we came across your recipe and have just made them but put the batter into a mini-loaf pan that I have ( makes 8 mini loafs). I just realized that I didn't add the vanilla, since, as Caroline mentioned, I followed the instructions which doesn't have the vanilla. They'll be done shortly - I'll keep ya posted....

  • Sad Dancer
    January 31, 2013

    Sooooo SAD ! EPIC FAIL ! Was looking forward to beautiful lemon poppy seed muffins, and came out as bland horrible disappointments.

    • Tracy
      January 31, 2013

      Very sad! I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. I loved how they turned out and didn't hear any other complaints.

  • Miranda
    February 4, 2013

    Next time I make these, I'm doubling the lemon, mine taste great but have no lemon flavor what so ever. Great recipe though.

    • Tracy
      February 4, 2013

      Bizarre! Mine were super lemony. Maybe your lemon wasn't as big as mine. In that case, perhaps the zest of two lemons will help!

  • Sarah Beth C.
    February 24, 2013

    Thank you for the recipe! I made these this morning and my little brother loved them.

  • fp
    April 29, 2013

    Just made these last night. Absolutely fantastic. Thanks!

  • Kristen
    May 26, 2013

    Should the butter be cold or room temp?

    • Tracy
      May 26, 2013

      Should be cold. I think it would be hard to cut it in if it was at room temp!

  • Candice
    July 5, 2013

    These muffins are currently baking in the oven. I have tried many lemon poppyseed muffin recipes as it is my favorite muffin but have never found one (that I have made) that I really liked, but I have high hopes for these because of the ingredients that I see.

    Also, to anyone who said they were bland or had not enough lemon flavor to each his own. I like VERY lemony flavor so whenever I try a lemon muffin I always double the lemon zest, lemon juice and ass a little lemon extract, what can I say, I am a lemon nut! You can't get upset though, everyone's tastebuds are different and some people are more sensitive to the taste. What might be bland for you might be perfect for someone else, as for me, I say bring on the LEMON! I'll let everyone know how it turned out:)

  • Anjali
    May 9, 2015

    This recipe looks amazingly delicious!!

    Just wondering- does using plain greek yogurt vs. sour cream have any major effect on the final product?

    • Anjali
      May 10, 2015

      I actually ended up using yogurt, and they were delicious. Successful addition to Mother's Day brunch. YUM!

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